GREENVILLE, North Carolina – Ezra Ausar, Benjamin Bayela, Quentin Diboundje, Elijah Jones, Kalib LaCount, Saxby Sunderland and Jaden Walker will attend East Carolina University and compete for the men’s basketball program beginning in the 2022-23 season, according to an announcement Thursday from the coach. main. Michael Schwartz.
The well-balanced group consists of a pair of Power Five transfers, a junior college player and four high school signings.
Ezra Ausar | Power forward | 6-9 | 240 | Atlanta Georgia | Liberty Heights Athletic Institute
- Ranked #2 prospect in North Carolina by HoopSeen and 54th best forward nationally by 247 Sports.
- Transferred to Liberty Heights Athletic Institute in Charlotte, NC for his senior year, where he averaged a near-double-double and helped lead the team to a 30-3 record.
- 2021-2022 Nominated for McDonald’s All-American.
- Named to the All-Tournament First Team in the Phenom Hoop State Championship.
- It also received offers from Texas A&M, Wichita State and UMass.
Schwartz in Ausar: “When we arrived here just over a month ago, we knew we wanted to make North Carolina’s high school prospects a real priority. Ezra Ausar was the student-athlete who had been at the top of the list from day one, as a graduate of Liberty Heights in Charlotte, playing for coach Michael Wright. Ezra has an amazing family and basketball support system that has helped him become one of the best players in the class of 2022 here in North Carolina. Ezra is an explosive, athletic forward who He has legit ball skills that are rare for a striker of his size. Ezra has the ability to play on the field and on the perimeter and will bring great defensive versatility to our program.”
Benjamin Bayela | Guard | 6-6 | 195 | Le Chesnay Rocquencourt, France | Southern Plains College
- Two-year newcomer to the junior college national powerhouse South Plains College.
- Average of 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds during the 2020-21 campaign.
- Played a key role in the Texans 18-3 record, a part of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference title, a No. 1 and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament.
- He took 42.9% off the field with 15 steals and nine blocks in 19 games.
- He averaged 12.2 points per game, shooting 38.3% 3-pointers and 72% from the line in his rookie campaign.
- It also received offers from Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, South Florida and St. John’s.
Schwartz in Bayela: “We are thrilled to have Benjamin Bayela as a player, student and most importantly as a person here with us at ECU. Ben has a mature and professional approach to everything he does on and off the court. score in many different ways. Ben has also had elite experience playing internationally at the highest levels, as well as, most recently, learning and being coached by one of the best junior college coaches in the country, Steve Green. impact our program immediately with his mindset winning and intensity. We couldn’t be more excited to have Benjamin and his family as part of our program.”
Quentin Diboundje | Guard | 6-5 | 217 | Montpellier, France | University of Tennessee
- He spent his high school freshman season at the University of Tennessee, helping the Vols to a 2022 SEC Tournament title and a second-round appearance at the NCAA Tournament.
- He made his NCAA Tournament debut during Tennessee’s first-round victory over Longwood.
- Signed with Tennessee after spending the 2020-21 season on the “prep national” roster at the Monteverde Academy Center for Basketball Development.
- Helped the Eagles to a 23-7 record in his first season in US basketball in 2020-21 and authored a 25-point performance in a win over Link Year Prep on February 19, 2021.
- One of the 16 players selected to participate in the French Basketball Federation Under-18 team camp in 2020.
- He played French club basketball with the Elan Chalon U21 team and increased his production from 4.8 points and 0.7 rebounds per game in 2018-19 to 12.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 2019-20.
- It also received offers from Georgia, TCU and George Washington.
Schwartz in Diboundje: “The addition of Quentin Diboundje to our Pirate family is something our entire coaching staff is very excited about. Quentin is an elite athlete who plays the game with a unique combination of physicality, skill and speed on both sides of the ball. .aggressive mindset and understands the work ethic required to place himself in a successful position on and off the court. He has extensive experience playing at some of the highest levels of international basketball, prep school basketball and, of course, for a Hall of Fame. Fame Coach in Rick Barnes at the University of Tennessee. We are really looking forward to coaching Quentin and having his family in France watch his success as an ECU pirate.”
Elias Jones | forward | 6-8 | 210 | Pleasantville, NJ | Mount Zion Preparation
- Helped lead Mount Zion Prep to 4th place in the National Prep Coach Rankings.
- Average of 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in the 2021-2022 season.
- Scored 24 points and 18 rebounds in Mount Zion’s 101-96 win over Phelps in the GAC Tournament quarterfinals.
- It also received offers from Saint Bonaventure, UMass, Old Dominion and Hofstra.
Schwartz on Jones: “Elijah Jones was one of the first student-athletes we had the opportunity to visit when we arrived at ECU. His presence on the court, skill level and game feel for his size are very impressive. Elijah is a great communicator and plays the game with a high level of energy. We anticipate Elijah to have a great summer, getting stronger and continuing to develop his skills in both the paint and the perimeter. He has a wonderful family and competed at a high level in the DMV area for his prep coach Rod Harrison at Mt. Zion Prep Academy.”
Kalib LaCount | Guard | 5-8 | 150 | Los Angeles, California | King/Drew High School
- Named City of LA Player of the Year in his senior campaign.
- Played for AAU Powerhouse Compton Magic on the 3SSB Adidas Circuit.
- Won National Team for the 2021-22 State of California Second Team.
- Named Coliseum League Player of the Year 2021-22, averaging 33.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.2 steals per game.
- Led the Golden Eagles to their first Open Division championship appearance.
- Scored a school record of 59 points in an 84–43 win over Dorsey High School on February 11.
Schwartz on LaCount: “Kalib LaCount brings a mindset, skill set and toughness to our program that is truly unique to who he is as a player and as a person. He is a winner with leadership qualities who has played on some of the best programs and coaches in California. family background and time at King/Drew Magnet High School with Coach Lloyd Webster coupled with his experience with Etop Udo-Ema and Compton Magic have provided Kalib with the highest level of competition and prep success. Kalib is a dynamic guard who has had tremendous success as a striker and playmaker. He understands what it means to play with a “chip on the shoulder” and his ability to defend 94 feet will make an impact from day one.”
Saxby Sunderland | Guard | 6-3 | 170 | Arlington, Virginia | Flint Hill High School
- Ranked #8 guard in the state of Virginia.
- He averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in the 2021-2022 season, while shooting 51.9% from the ground and 78.3% from the line during his senior campaign.
- Named to the All Virginia Independent Schools Second Team and the MAC All-League Team.
- It also received offers from VCU, George Mason, Saint Peter’s and UMBC.
Schwartz in Sunderland: “Saxby Sunderland brings a lot to our program on and off the court. He was part of a great DMV program at the prestigious Flint Hill School playing for coach Ricardo Reed. From that experience, as well as his amazing family, Saxby has an advanced understanding of what it takes to be successful as a player and student. He has a tenacious work ethic in the gym and his level of skill with the ball as a playmaker and pitcher are all aspects of his game, we are very excited Mal we can expect Saxby to arrive on campus this summer.
Jaden Walker | Guard | 6-5 | 200 | Lawrenceville, Georgia | Iowa State University
- He spent his first two college seasons at Iowa State, where he played in 37 games.
- He took 50% off the field during the 2021-22 season and scored eight points against Texas Tech, a career best.
- Started nine games as a rookie, averaging 18 minutes per game, including a 14-rebound performance against Kansas on February 13, 2021 — the most by a true Cyclone rookie since the 2010-11 season.
- Rated a four-star recruit and the #9 Georgia player coming out of high school by ESPN.
- Selected Iowa State over offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico.
Schwartz in Walker: “We are very excited to add Jaden Walker to our program. He has made an impact at the highest level of college basketball and we look forward to his experience playing a key role from the moment he sets foot on campus. Jaden is a versatile guard. with large size that can impact the game on both ends of the court. He has a solid foundation from his family and former head coach Tobias Howard. We feel very fortunate to have them all as part of our ECU family.”